“The ‘Missing Dimension’: Britain’s Secret War against France in Syria and Lebanon, 1942–45,” by Meir Zamir

Press Release: The ‘Missing Dimension’ by Meir Zamir

Article: The ‘Missing Dimension’: Britain’s Secret War against France in Syria and Lebanon, 1942–45 – Part II
Author: Meir Zamir
Journal: Middle Eastern Studies, published by Routledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Issue: Volume 46, Issue 6, November 2010, pages 791 – 899
Web: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a930912406~frm=titlelink [The article will be available for free viewing by the public for only a limited time]

Meir Zamir is a professor of Middle East history in the Department of Middle Eastern Studies at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev. Born in Bagdad in 1947, Professor Zamir earned his BA from Hebrew University in Jerusalem, his MA from Tel Aviv University, and PhD from the London School of Economics and Political Science under the supervision of Professor Elie Kedourie. Professor Zamir’s article studies British intelligence activities in the Middle East during the Second World War. Drawing on documents previously unavailable to the public, his research uncovers a hitherto shrouded chapter of MI6 history and establishes itself as key reading for all those interested in the history of the British Secret Service.

Abstract
The article provides the ‘missing dimension’ in the historiography of Syria and Lebanon in the Second World War. It is based on secret British and Syrian documents obtained by the French intelligence from their agents in the British Legation in Beirut and the Syrian government in Damascus, never before published. These documents, recently discovered by the author, shed new light on the activities of the British intelligence agencies in the Middle East during and after the war. They reveal that these agencies played an important role in shaping Britain’s policy in the region by securing the tacit collaboration of prominent Arab nationalists in Syria and Lebanon and other Arab countries. In Syria (and Palestine), Britain conducted a ‘dual policy’: one purported to mediate between the French and the Syrians, details of which are found in British archives, and a tacit policy aimed to evict France, of which few traces remain in official documentation. Hence de Gaulle’s accusations that Britain secretly engineered the expulsion of France from the Levant were indeed justified, and that the Syrians’ claim that their country was the first Arab state to secure complete independence is questionable. The article also discloses that Britain was behind the Hashemite schemes to integrate Syria in a Greater Syria or an Iraqi-led Hashemite confederation. Copies of more than one hundred of the documents are annexed to the article, including a secret agreement from 29 May 1945 revealing that President Quwatli was coerced into granting Britain a dominant position in Syria and that Syria would accept a unified Greater Syria under a Hashemite king.

[Comment by Joshua Landis: I am copying below a few of the British documents that Meir Zamir found in the French archives and that he kindly sent to me. This is an extraordinary find and very important article. It explains a crucial chapter in Syrian, French and British history that has largely been kept secret until now. It helps explain much of the background to my own forthcoming book on the independence period. For example, during the first years of independence, President Quwatli was very fearful of British plans for Greater Syria. It seems clear that President Quwatli had no intention of carry out the promises he was forced to make to the British about using British advisors and accepting a united Greater Syria under a Hashemite King. Adel Arslan explained in his diaries that Quwatli was 'obsessed' by the Hashemite threat during the first years of independence: 1946-1949. Quwatli worked assiduously to diminish British influence in Syria. The nacent Syrian intelligence agency that he set up was tasked to track down Hashemite agents in Syria and report on them. 

Quwatli's planning during the 1948 War in Palestine was guided by his anxiety that Britain and Jordan were conspiring to push through the Greater Syria Plan and that they believed that the "fog of war" would provide an opportunity for it to be carried out. Quwatli restricted the Syrian army to a very limited role in the Palestinian conflict. He did this because he feared that should Syrian forces be defeated by the Jewish Haganah - an outcome that both he and Prime Minister Mardam suspected to be likely - Kind Abdullah of Jordan would exploit Syrian weakness to march on Damascus and carry out his dream of Greater Syria.

 Zamir's archival find explains why Quwatli believed this was the case and why he was convinced that the British would give it full diplomatic and political backing. When I wrote my article:  “Syria in the 1948 Palestine War: Fighting King Abdullah’s Greater Syria Plan,” which is published in Eugene Rogan and Avi Shlaim, eds., Rewriting the Palestine War: 1948 and the History of the Arab-Israeli Conflict, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2001, pp. 178-205, [You can read it on the web, here.] I gave it the subtitle: “Fighting Kind Abdullah’s Greater Syria Plan,” because Quwatli’s guiding strategy during the war was to prevent the possible fulfillment of Kind Abdullah’s dream of taking Damascus and ruling Greater Syria. Some critics argued that I was exaggerating Quwatli’s fear of King Abdullah and the British. I thank Zamir for helping me to prove that Quwatli was not paranoid, but had a legitimate reason to believe that Syrian independence was at stake during the 1948 War. The British had lost much of their power and confidence by 1948 and the US, the emerging superpower, was against the Greater Syria Plan, but Quwatli, nevertheless, remained fearful of British designs in the region due to the painful and revealing experience he underwent during WWII, when Britain tried to impose its vision of the Middle East on Syria through secret diplomacy.

The “missing dimension” also helps explain why Quwatli was loath to commit the Syrian army to protracted fighting and possible defeat in Palestine. He limited Syria’s military ambitions to grabbing a bit of Palestinian territory on the Palestinian side of the Jordan River, which he planned to use as a bargaining chip in future negotiations with Israel. He wanted the border between Syrian and Israeli to run through the middle of Lake Tiberius and not along its north-eastern shore. That is what Khalid al-`Azm writes in his memoirs. Quwatli organized the Jaysh al-Inqadh, or al-Qawuqji’s Arab Volunteer Army, as the main instrument by which Syria would assist and help direct the Palestinian struggle against Zionist forces. It was designed to avoid the necessity of ordering the Syrian army into the fray.

Quwatli’s strategy failed because the Jaysh al-Inqadh was defeated by Zionist forces leading to the overthrow of Quwatli’s government Husni Zaim, Syria’s Chief of Staff . These events, in part, explain the failure of  Syria’s republican form of government and the collapse of the landed and merchant elite that had guided Syrian politics under the Ottomans and through the struggle for independence.  End]

 A Few DOCUMENTS

 Document 12:  British secret proposal (MacKereth) via Sulh to Jabri             

Translation

Top Secret

British Proposals Officially Presented by Riad al-Sulh on 5 August 1944 to Sa’adallah Jabri

——————

1)    The British government pledges to effectively and completely and absolutely protect Syrian independence against any aggression or transgressions from any state or group of states that lay claim to Syria’s rights.

2)    Great Britain pledges to provide the necessary funds to exploit Syria’s agricultural and metallurgical resources in the framework of a financial and economic agreement in which Syria’s interests will be safeguarded in all ways possible.

3)    Great Britain pledges to provide experts and technicians who will freely enter into contracts with the Syrian government and who will be considered its officials.

4)    Great Britain will help Syria to set bounds to the direction of Arab Unity. It will occupy itself with unifying financial and economic regulations as well as teaching methods in the Arab states. It will help Syria to attain a prominent position among the Arab states.

5)    Great Britain pledges to ensure the application of the clauses of the White Paper in Palestine and promises to put a complete stop to Jewish ambitions.

6)    If Syria seeks unification with Transjordan and Palestine, the British government will not impose the type of regime. If Syria chooses a monarchy, Great-Britain will not impose Amir Abdullah as king, but it hopes that the Syrians will choose a Hashemite Arab Amir.

7)    In return for all this, Great Britain wishes to be assured:

a)    that Syria will finally strive to free itself.

b)    that Syria will conclude a treaty with Great Britain only.

c)    that Syria will not enter into any pact or international agreement before consulting Great Britain.


Document 22
:  Nuri al-Sa’id-Jamil Mardam secret agreement      

Copy of the secret agreement between

Nuri Sa’id and Jamil Mardam

15 September 1944

       We the undersigned, Nuri Sa’id and Jamil Mardam, have reached agreement on the following:

       We will act with one mind to deliver Syria from the colonizers’ yoke. We will fight for its unification. We will act to establish a Hashemite Arab throne there, under which Syria, in its natural borders, will be unified and which will constitute the prelude to the realization of general Arab Unity.

       The primary position in Syria can only be for a return to Jamil Mardam. He will be, after the occupant of the throne, the country’s premier and its only leader. It is in the name of the occupant of the throne, whoever it may be, that Nuri Sa’id promises this and undertakes on his honor and his religion to employ all his efforts to bring it about.

       The two parties undertake to keep this agreement secret.

       Made in two copies.

                                                                               15 September 1944

                                                                   S/ Jamil Mardam      S/ Nuri Sa’id
 

Document 27:  Quwatli to Ibn Sa’ud                                       

Translated from the Arabic

Top Secret

Letter from President Quwatli to King Ibn Sa’ud

To His Highness and brother His Majesty King Abd al-Aziz Ibn Abd al-Rahman al Faisal al Sa’ud

May God support him

————

Greetings from Arabism. Our brothers are headed for Alexandria. I don’t know your final decision. Have you decided to withdraw or has something new happened?

The only thing I can inform Your Majesty is that the situation is going from bad to worse. Our difficulties are continually increasing. God has sent us these impious French and British, enemies of the nation and religion; our disappointments with both are great and our misfortune enormous.

As I am writing these lines, news is arriving that these cursed French are preparing traps for us throughout the country. They threaten us everywhere.

As for the blue-eyed men [English], they sent us this atrocious Cornwallis to convince us of the necessity of favoring the English, otherwise we’ll pay for our attitude. He began by threatening to abandon us to France, which will do with us as it pleases. I informed him that we do not want that and that we will not agree at any price to recognize the French, whom we wish to get rid of for good; but we also don’t want the British to treat us like subordinates. He then assured me of their good intentions (deceitful) and hastened to present me with an agreement, or a treaty, as he called it, comprising two parts: one secret and the other public. He added that eventually, the same treaty – but only the public part – could be concluded with the French and the Americans.

I’ll tell you about the treaty when they send me the copy, because they told me verbally and I didn’t keep the text.

The most important thing he tried to convince me of is their plan for Syria’s unification. He declares that the British do not insist on Amir Abdallah. We will have the option of choosing one of the members of the Hashemite family. Despite everything, this cunning man took precautions. He assured me that he was asking me as a friend and not in an official capacity, and that in his opinion these solutions were the best and in the interests of both the Syrians and the Arabs.

In any case, I am asking you to give orders to Yusuf (1) to participate in the Congress in Alexandria. His participation in this Congress will help us and alleviate our burden.

May God keep you, Your Highness and dear brother. You are our protector and our support.

4 Shawal 363 (2)  

           Signed: Shukri

(1)   Sheikh Yusuf Yasin, Special Adviser to Ibn Sa’ud

(2)   21 September 1944

 

Document 29:  Ibn Sa’ud to Quwatli                                               

Translated from the Arabic

Top Secret

Reply of King Ibn Sa’ud to President Shukri Bey Quwatli

 

To our beloved brother Shukri Bey, may God protect you and keep you.

———————— 

Greetings and holy blessings. Thanks to God I received your letter and noted all that it says. We do not wish to boycott these people but we cannot bear their maneuvering and intrigues. May God protect us and keep us from their iniquity.

Dear brother, personally, I count only on God, who is my only support. Whatever the British do, I do not fear them. I only fear God. Their man in our country is like a fox. The intrigues of this cursed Cornwallis are not unknown to me. For a long time he has been malicious and treacherous, and he is the son of malicious and treacherous persons.

The blue-eyed individuals promised me that they would not do anything without my consent and that this rambling Abdallah would get nothing. They make fun of him like they make fun of many others. Personally, I was used to their lies, but I didn’t believe that they would lie to me this time. What is their interest in unifying the Arabs? If they had wanted to, they could have done it after the last war, but may God protect the Arab nation from their games and the Muslims from their iniquity.

We will send Yusuf to Alexandria; he alone will deal with them. Tell your people to serve as intermediaries between him and the others. That they don’t adopt the same attitude as his, so that they can retain the means to annoy Nuri and company.

The son of Sa’ud sends his greetings. Bashir and everyone wish you success.

Greetings  from your brother.

10 Shawal 363 (1)

S/ Abd al-Aziz Ibn Abd al-Rahman

(1)  27 September 1944

 

Document 36:  Quwatli’s report on his meeting with Faruq and Ibn Sa’ud

Translated from the Arabic

Syrian Republic                                                         

The President                                                           

Report by the President of the Syrian Republic

16 February 1945

—————

The copy of this document delivered on 20 February 1945, was filed in the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs under No. 20/946 “Secret Political Reports.”

—————-

On 16 February 1945, I drove with His Majesty King Faruq I, may God protect him, in his car to a meeting with His Majesty King Abd al-Aziz.

The meeting, which lasted about two hours, took place at the “Obrige” Hotel (1) in Faiyum. Following is the summary of the conversations that took place between us and which focused on the following points:

  1. The question of Palestine,
  2. The question of Syria and Lebanon,
  3. The mineral resources of the Arab countries.

In general, we completely agreed on the answers each of us would give to Mr. Roosevelt or Mr. Churchill concerning the problems of the entire Arab nation. Regarding the matters of specific interest to each of our countries, we were allowed complete freedom to reply according to the interest of the cause.

The question of Palestine  – We agreed that:

-          the English White Paper would be regarded as the limit to Arab claims,

-          that  emigration would be absolutely limited,

-          sales [of land] would be forbidden,

-          and we would enter into negotiations that would lead to the individual autonomy of the two governments, but incorporated in the greater Arab union (if the Jews do not want to suffer from an Arab economic embargo). If the Jews refuse these proposals, the Arabs have no objection to their compensation. In this case all the reunited Arab governments will ensure this compensation. If the Jews wish for the realization of a Greater Syria, the Syrians will accommodate them on the basis of a republican administration, but will help them only to a very limited extent and they will not be allowed to buy land.

 

The question of Syria and Lebanon.

We agreed that the independence of Syria and Lebanon is final. This independence is assured and guaranteed by the reunited Arab states which are willing to defend it against any aggression.

The Arab states are not willing to recognize France’s privileged position; they are loyal to the Charter of Syro-Lebanese independence recognized by the Great Allied States and at the present time will not allow the conclusion of a treaty with France, because such a treaty would weaken Syria’s independence and return the Syrians to a mandate regime. His Majesty King Abd al-Aziz stressed this point, declaring: “Syria’s safety is as important as the safety of my own country.”

We agreed that the question of an army is fundamentally linked to this independence, which we want to be absolutely complete.

The mineral resources of the Arab countries

We reached the following understanding: our common desire is to adopt an open door policy regarding the future exploitation of mineral resources in the Arab countries.

Current concessions obtained by official companies will be maintained according to agreements already concluded, but each Arab government will proclaim its own laws, which will be considered essential and which the companies will have to take into consideration. In other words, we want these companies to understand that we are not merchandise to be exploited cheaply. We will therefore claim our part of our mineral resources and from now on will be guided only by our interests. His Majesty King Abd al-Aziz in fact explained it to Mr. Roosevelt when he told him: “I am your friend and the friend of the English. I ask you to prove your friendship to us.”

Another possible solution would be to consider giving these concessions to Anglo-American companies and thereby enjoy the political protection of both nations.

(The question of Soviet and French capital was not touched upon in the conversation as we want to avoid these dangerous influences as quickly as possible.)

Generally speaking, the understanding between us is absolute and the agreement certain. What is important is that each sovereign has committed himself to defending our viewpoint concerning our independence and our army.

        16 February 1945                                    S/ Shukri Quwatli

 

Document  37:  Quwatli’s report on his meeting with Churchill and Eden   

Translated from the Arabic

Syrian Republic                                                                               

The President                                                         

Report by the President of the Syrian Republic

————————–

The copy of the report drafted on 20 February 1945 was registered under the no. 21/245 – “Secret Political Reports”.

————————– 

On Saturday, 17 February 1945, Mr. Terence Shone, the British Minister Plenipotentiary in Syria, informed me that Mr. Churchill could receive me immediately after King Faruq. He accompanied me up to the British prime minister’s house, where the meeting lasted approximately 45 minutes.

 I felt that the atmosphere was chilly and that Mr. Churchill was not frank with his replies. From the beginning, I noticed that Mr. Eden was not favorable towards us; he listened to what I said with chilliness. Mr. Shone had warned me about Mr. Eden’s chilliness, but it hadn’t convinced me.

I explained to Mr. Churchill all the stages of the Arab cause and spoke to him about Syria’s role. It was unfair, I told him, that the affairs of the Syrian people – who are more mature that the other Arab peoples – are destined to be at the mercy of France, which refuses to recognize our legitimate rights.

Mr. Eden then said to me:

–  “But are you sure you have fulfilled your obligations towards France? I believe that General Catroux’ declaration conditioned the end of the mandate on the conclusion of a treaty.”

I replied:

– “We would like to conclude a treaty with all the Allies, not solely with France. We would like to come to the Peace Conference in the company of other Arab states, free and with no ties.”

Mr. Churchill’s reply, if I understood it correctly, was as follows:

– “You can deal with the issue of the Peace Conference only after you are in a state of war with the Axis.”

I presented the Syrian problem in detail, saying:

–  “There are some British diplomats who have understood exactly the Syrian issue.”

Mr. Eden, cutting me off, said:

–  “You are referring, perhaps, to General Spears.”

–  “Yes, I replied, he noted the legitimacy of our claims.”

But Mr. Eden, maintaining his mood, said to me:

–  “Mr. Spears is a citizen of Damascus and is Lebanese …..”

Finally, Mr. Churchill asked me this question:

–  “What solution do you see to the Syro-Lebanese problems? This question interests the Allies in general, not only Britain. It should not be forgotten that France is our ally and friend and we cannot displease it, seeing that we agree that it has a privileged position.”

I replied:

–  “I speak as a patriot before speaking as the President of the Republic. Syria is not willing to recognize France’s privileged position and there is nobody in Syria ready to conclude a treaty with France that would preserve the country’s state of slavery. We understand what the French are asking of us in their proposed treaty … Now our independence is final; it has been recognized by all the Great Powers. We offer our friendship to these reunited states and do not wish to favor one and not the others.”

Mr. Churchill declared:

–  “All this may be true, but in any event I would advise you to enter into negotiations with the French. They are logical, and political matters are not a question of character, but of interest.”

–  “It is equally a matter of trust,” I replied.

Mr. Eden then said:

–  “May the President of the Syrian Republic allow me to remind him, while appreciating his patriotism and desire for the independence of his country, that His Majesty the King Abd al-Aziz attained the success that we welcome only thanks to the important quality he has which makes him practical.”

–  “But, I said, how do you want us to be practical with France when, for twenty years, we had to put up with it? Our people no longer trust the agreements it enters into. It concluded a treaty with us in 1936 that it annulled. I cannot shoulder the responsibility of new action with France – especially now when the matter does not depend only on us – because Syria is the key to all the Arab countries, and all the Arab states are anxious to deliver Syria from French influence.”

Mr. Churchill continued the conversation, saying:

–  “I do not doubt, my friend, your noble patriotic feelings, but as I already said, I am not free to act as I please. I informed King Abd al-Aziz, for whom I have a special respect, about all of this. The Middle East is the object of serious conversations among all the Allies. Mr. Stalin raised the question of a clash of European interests in this important region. It is a pity that the Arab nations have not yet attained the necessary state of recovery, and there is no doubt that the main world Powers need to agree on their influence in your country.

       “France cannot be chased out of positions it occupies. We do not know what the future holds for us, and Stalin’s friendship, despite his communism, requires from us, as you know, oil concessions. Are you willing to do that?”

I replied:

–  “Who can tell us that our according France a privileged position won’t be exploited on behalf of the Soviet Union?”

       Shrugging his shoulders and smiling, he said to me:

–  “Who knows, who knows.” 

Mr. Eden then continued:

–  “We advise the Syrians to weaken the violence of their demonstrations. We equally advise them not to malign France, like they are doing today. We will serve as an intermediary between the two.”  

Sensing that the meeting was drawing to a close, I said:

–  “I will make efforts to begin new negotiations on condition that you help us, but I must remind you that right now Syria does not belong solely to the Syrians, that it is an Arab country, and that all the Arab states are signatories of the Pact of Arab Unity and they share its sorrow.” 

Mr. Eden declared:

–  “Their Majesties Kings Abd al-Aziz and Faruq have confirmed it. Be sure, Mr. President, that we wish to satisfy you as much as possible, but you are not unaware that it doesn’t depend only on us.”

The moment I left, I realized that Great Britain would like to support us, but that support will depend on what we do to oblige it to help us. This confirms what General Spears repeatedly said to me: “Make Great Britain face the fait accompli so that it will help you.”

Cairo, Saturday evening, 17 February 1945

S/ Shukri Quwatli

(1)  Probably what the Egyptian press called ‘L’Auberge du Lac’.

 

Document 85:  Quwatli-Shone secret agreement                         

Translated from the Arabic

                                                                           Exchange of letters no. 1

Secret

I, the undersigned, Shukri Quwatli, President of the Republic of Syria, pledge on my honor, in my name, and in the name of the Syrian nation that has honored me by making me its president, to make the utmost effort to realize the unity of Syria in its natural borders, that is, from the Taurus to the desert, to Egypt and to the Mediterranean Sea.

I promise to do my utmost to realize the unity of Bar al-Sham * and to be a soldier in the struggle for Syria’s absolute unity, a natural step towards complete Arab Unity.

This is our agreement, and God is our witness.

Damascus, 29 May 1945

                                                                S/ Shukri Quwatli

            Approved by the President of the Republic

             S/ Jamil Mardam Bey

* Translator’s note: literally, “Desert of Damascus,” an expression denoting geographical Syria.

——————–    

Not delivered to the Foreign Ministry.

This document was provided by he who drew it up and who served as secretary.

———————————  

 

Translated from the Arabic                             Exchange of letters no. 2

Secret

I, the undersigned, Shukri Quwatli, President of the Republic of Syria, pledge on my honor, in my name, and in the name of the Syrian nation that has honored me by making me its president, to accept, when necessary, the Agreement of the Syrian Oil Company, to grant it a legal and judicial status and to obtain the Syrian Parliament’s vote in its favor.

God be my witness.

Damascus, 29 May 1945

                                                         S/ Shukri Quwatli

                               Approved by the President of the Republic

                                         S/ Jamil Mardam Bey

————————-   

Not delivered to the Foreign Ministry.

This document was provided by he who drew it up and who served as secretary.

————————————-

Translated from the Arabic                           Exchange of letters no. 3       

 Secret                                                                                

I, the undersigned, Shukri Quwatli, President of the Republic of Syria,

pledge on my honor, in my name, and in the name of the Syrian nation which has honored me by making me its president, to grant Great Britain a privileged position in all spheres in Syria, in the clearest of terms, namely, to grant it all privileges that are possible to grant to a friendly state, bound with an everlasting friendship.

I am prepared to obtain from Parliament a vote in favor of providing Great Britain with all possible economic, financial and political facilities.

Damascus, 29 May 1945

                                                    S/ Shukri Quwatli

                               Approved by the President of the Republic

                                    S/ Jamil Mardam Bey

——————————   

Not delivered to the Foreign Ministry.

This document was provided by he who drew it up and who served as secretary.

————————————————— 

Translated from the Arabic                           Exchange of letters no. 4

Secret

I, the undersigned, Shukri Quwatli, President of the Republic of Syria, pledge on my honor, in my name, and in the name of the Syrian nation that has honored me by making me its president, that the Syrian Government’s policies will always be consistent with British policy, we being two friendly states, and that Syria will never turn to another international bloc without the knowledge and agreement of Great Britain.

                                                  Damascus, 29 May 1945

                                                        S/ Shukri Quwatli

                         Approved by the President of the Republic

                             S/ Jamil Mardam Bey

———————     

Not delivered to the Foreign Ministry.

This document was provided by he who drew it up and who served as secretary.

——————————————————

Translated from the Arabic                               Exchange of letters no. 5

Secret

I, the undersigned, Shukri Quwatli, President of the Republic of Syria, pledge on my honor, in my name, and in the name of the Syrian nation that has honored me by making me its president, that the future Syrian army will be an Arab army that will adopt the most sincere attitude toward the British people and the Government of His Majesty the King.

Its instructors, trainers and guides will preferably be British.

It will depend on Britain’s noble assistance for its arming and equipping.

                                                                 Damascus, 29 May 1945

                                                            S/Shukri Quwatli

                Approved by the President of the Republic

             S/ Jamil Mardam Bey

_______________  

Not delivered to the Foreign Ministry.

This document was provided by he who drew it up and who served as secretary.

————————————————

Translated from the Arabic

Secret

           To His Excellency the President of the Syrian Republic,

    I have been authorized by my Government to promise you formally and on my honor, to maintain the secrecy of the text of the letter – a declaration made by Your Excellency regarding Syrian Unity.

                     Damascus, 29 May 1945

                                          S/ Shone

———————      

Not delivered to the Foreign Ministry.

———————————————————  

Translated from the Arabic

Secret

To His Excellency the President of the Syrian Republic,

My Government has authorized me to formally promise that it will retain the secrecy of the letters nos. 2, 3, 4 and 5 – dated from this day. It hopes, however, that all their contents will, if necessary, assume the form of a treaty linking Great Britain and Syria in eternal friendship.

                      Damascus, 29 May 1945

                                                                    Your obedient servant

                                                                      S/ T. Shone

—————————-   

Not delivered to the Foreign Ministry.

Comments (4)


 

2. aron said:

Thanks a lot for publishing this! Very interesting. I remember reading your (Landis) article on the Palestine War and being fascinated by how interrelated the various colonial and nationalist rivalries were — how the Arab strategy for the Zionist challenge was pushed towards confrontation by Syria, while Syria’s own approach was partly dictated by its fear of the Hashemites, in turn affected by Franco-British relations, and so on, and so on. It was really interesting, illuminating stuff, and I hope this will be as good.

Question: This appears to be the second part of a longer article or series. You wouldn’t happen to know how to get hold of part one?

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January 16th, 2011, 2:46 pm

 

3. aron said:

While on the subject of Syrian history, this guest post at the Angry Arab was pretty interesting. It’s on Shishakli:

http://angryarab.blogspot.com/2011/01/on-first-arab-popular-overthrow-of.html

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January 20th, 2011, 3:37 pm

 

4. Madeleine Markey, Publishing Editor, Taylor & Francis said:

Hi Aron,

Part one of Professor Zamir’s article is entitled ‘De Gaulle and the question of Syria and Lebanon during the Second World War: Part I’ and was published in the journal Middle Eastern Studies in 2007.

The article can be found here: http://www.informaworld.com/smpp/content~db=all~content=a780795765~frm=titlelink?words=meir|zamir&hash=3570926749

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February 17th, 2011, 7:34 am

 

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